Bangladesh to construct fences along India border
Bangladesh decides to build fences along Indian border. In Picture: An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier stands with his bicycle as he patrols the unfenced India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal, India, 20 June 2015.Reuters

Bangladesh has decided to construct barbed wire fence along its border with India and Myanmar. The government in Dhaka has approved a project to build border fences.

"Our government, in principle, has agreed to have barbed wire fencing along the borders with India as well as Myanmar," said Director General of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Major General Aziz Ahmed, PTI reported.

Bangladesh shares over 4,000km of its border with India that covers it from three sides. But the first project will start on the Myanmar border, which is 271km.

The Major General pointed out that the Indian side has barbed wire fencing and link roads all along the border that helps the Indian Border Security Force (BSF), which is tasked to guard borders. He termed these two as "two basic needs" and called it "unfortunate" that Bangladesh still does not have a similar set up.

But he assured that the current government in Dhaka is taking it up "actively." He also told the media that border fencing needs huge funds and may take a while for the sealing of the Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam. However, the country would start by concentrating on building fences along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, he said.

The issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh has been a contentious issue in India and especially in the state of Assam.

India has completed fencing of up to 79 percent of its border with Bangladesh. Ahmed noted that such fencing from the Indian side helps in monitoring cross-border crimes.

The border guarding forces of both the countries are working together to create a database of habitual offenders active along the border area.

He will be leading a delegation to New Delhi for the bi-annual DG-level talks with his Indian counterpart. This will be held on October 30.

The BGB forces had been clearly told to crackdown on cross-border cattle smuggling. "We don't want Indian cattle into Bangladesh," the Major General said.

"More than 95 per cent of border killing is due to cattle smuggling. This issue will surely be discussed during the DG level talks that will take place soon," he added.

He is also expected to raise the issue of BSF killing Bangladeshi citizens when attacking cattle smugglers. According to their data, around 21 Bangladeshis were killed as of September 2016.

He clarified that there are no known camps of Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) in Bangladesh. The BGB had conducted operations on its soil on locations flagged by their Indian counterparts, but there was "no signs" on any camps or hideouts.

Bangladesh, he said, was "very concerned" about the issue of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) being routed through his territory. He clarified that these notes were not printed on their soil.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh had taken a decision in June 2016 that the 223.7km India-Bangladesh border in Assam would be sealed by June 2017. The minister had directed the ministry to make use of technological solutions to secure sensitive border areas.